Police seize ‘most wanted con artist’
Directorate of Criminal Investigations detectives have finally arrested a tall and light skinned woman believed to be the mastermind of a fake multi-million-shilling tenders supply racket involving State House and Department of Defense (DoD).
Businessmen have lost millions to her as she masquerades as a projects manager or procurement officer at either State House or Harambee House Annex, besides leading a team of con men pretending to be intelligence or military officers.
Joy Wangari Kamau, aka Patricia Mareka, has been on the detectives radar since 2018 after she reportedly orchestrated a scam that defrauded a businessman Sh116 million using fake tenders to supply 1,200 pieces of HP ENVY laptops to install security systems at State House and DoD.
The suspect is alleged to be well-connected with some of the high and mighty in politics and government, who, her victims claim, have been protecting her.
The arrest happened on Tuesday on Lenana Road in Nairobi, and yesterday, one of her reported victims, Charles Gathii, who is said to have lost Sh116 million, positively identified her at an identification parade.
Gathii, the director of software development company Microhouse Technologies, was reportedly awarded the fake tenders in January 2018 by people who are said to have taken him to State House and Harambee House Annex where he met the “boss lady”.
Wangari is also facing a litany of other fraud- related charges, some of which she has jumped bail, one being where he allegedly defrauded Makueni businessman Stephen Ngei Sh180 million last year in yet another a fake computer tender.
John Kariuki, the head of Investigations Bureau at the DCI, confirmed Wangari’s arrest, adding that she will appear in court today. Gathii claims to have been lured into the scam by a Douglas Simiyu, who identified himself as a National Intelligence Service (NSIS) officer but whose real name is Fredrick Mangala Muhanji, said to be based at Nyati House—home to intelligence officers—where he also met him twice. When the fraud was executed, Gathii claimed to have met Wangari at State House and Harambee House Annex, which hosts Deputy President William Ruto’s office.
In a statement recorded by Gathii, he says in the run-up to the 2017 election, a relative introduced him to a Mr Onesmus Waiguru, who allegedly worked at the Office of Auditor General.
Waiguru, he told police, was close to a woman only identified as Tabitha, who allegedly worked at Nyati House. He said she introduced him to Simiyu at a meeting at Chester House in early January 2018.
Gathii said after the meeting, Simiyu told him the project would proceed once he signed “a confidential non-disclosure agreement” after submitting a proposal and company profile which he did. And on April 27, 2018, Microhouse Technologies wrote to “State House” to follow up with the payments and a response was done on May 8, 2018 indicating it would be settled in 30 days.
This never happened.